Monday, July 17, 2017

Natural gas exploration going as planned – government - CYPRUS MAIL

Drilling ultra-deepwater drillship West Capella commenced
July 17, 2017
George Psyllides

The republic’s natural gas exploration was going as planned, the government said on Monday, with results expected in the autumn.

“What I can tell you with certainty is that everything is going as planned,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told state radio.

Energy giant Total is drilling in block 11 of the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), amid threats from Turkey, which has dispatched at least one warship to monitor the situation.

Christodoulides said the proper authorities are monitoring the situation on a daily basis and that when a statement needs to be made it will be made.

“There is nothing causing concern or affecting our energy planning,” he said.

The seismic survey ship, Barbaros, which is frequently dispatched by Turkey when the republic is conducting explorations, was sailing some 39 nautical miles off the Paphos coast on Monday but far from the West Capella, the drillship working for Total in block 11.

Christodoulides said that what matters is the unconstrued implementation of the island’s energy plans “and, I repeat, this is done with no problem whatsoever.”

Last week, Ankara announced it had dispatched a frigate to monitor a drillship conducting offshore gas exploration south of the island.

The Turkish armed forces general staff said on its website that it ordered the frigate TCG Gokceada to track the West Capella drillship that arrived in Cyprus’ EEZ in the early hours of Wednesday.

“The (frigate) is fulfilling its duty in the eastern Mediterranean monitoring the West Capella… which, it is assessed, may carry out drilling activities,” the military said.

On Thursday, Turkey’s foreign minister said it would take measures against Greek Cypriot exploration for oil or gas around Cyprus. He added that Turkish Cypriots had rights over those reserves.